The last show before the big weekend of NXT TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series did what it had to do. It did so even with the uncertainty surrounding who is going to be on Team NXT.
During the opening segment, the roster of the SmackDown was by a backstage entrance. Although King Corbin and Roman Reigns were butting heads at how tonight should be handled, The Boss knew exactly what to do. Sasha Banks rightfully took the roster’s attention and led Team SmackDown out to the ring.
At first, there wasn’t a match announced for tonight until Team RAW made their way out to the ring. With RAW’s captain Charlotte Flair marching her troops to the ring she suggested a one on one match against her and Banks. You know, for old times’ sake.
Well, that wasn’t enough. Five (yet not for sure the five for Team NXT) NXT Superstars made their way in through the crowd and over the barricade led by Rhea Ripley. Following Ripley were Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae, and a surprise appearance by former NXT UK Women’s Champion – Toni Storm.
Commentary stressed that it was not confirmed who the members of Team NXT will be even though there are five women right in front of us. More than likely it will not be determined until after WarGames based on who is the least banged up from that match. The same seems to be going to happen for the male Team NXT as well.
Ripley suggests a Captain vs. Captain vs. Captain as she challenges both Flair and Banks. So at least we can be certain Ripley will probably be heading Team NXT.
The match itself was great. It showcased each woman when it needed to. Ripley pulled out a win as she pins Flair while Flair was trying to make Banks tap in the Figure Eight. It was really well done and Ripley picking up this win is huge for not only for NXT but for her as well.
There wasn’t another women’s match, but there was a segment between NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler calling out SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley. Baszler stated that Bayley accuses her of always being attacked from behind. So as Bayley did on NXT last week she attacked Baszler from behind.
The segment was okay. It showed Bayley getting out of the Kirifuda Clutch which was nice to see. It would have been even better if Becky Lynch came out, but it made its point that Bayley shouldn’t be forgotten about.
Let’s get into the Winners & Losers:
WINNER: Rhea Ripley
Ripley is the clear winner not only of the night but probably the entire build-up for both WarGames and Survivor Series. Let’s look at this. Ripley is the captain of both her team for WarGames and the captain of Team NXT. She has had new matches against Lynch, Banks, and Flair. She has been involved in other matches such as the eight-woman tag match last week as well as destroy Fire & Desire on SmackDown alongside Tegan Nox.
She is clearly being pushed to the moon. Where it will end up when this weekend is over, not sure. Either she will be the one to take out Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship or personally I wouldn’t be surprised if she is moved to SmackDown or RAW with as much exposure as she is getting.
This may be rightfully needed as she was cheated out of her match at Evolution last year and had a not so rememberable reign as the inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion. She held the title for 139-days but only is recognized for 44-days. This may just be her time.
WINNER: Sasha Banks
She really is a true leader. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I love Team SmackDown. She may have shown some cracks in her team with fighting with Nikki Cross, but it may be the only team that isn’t all on the same page. To me, that makes it more exciting.
In the end, the women of SmackDown were in the ring after all was said in done after the final brawl they had with RAW as NXT watched on from the stage.
LOSER: Charlotte Flair
For once Charlotte Flair took the pin. Flair took THE PIN. Granted it isn’t the end of the world, and I am sure it won’t happen again for a while, but for Flair’s persona, it puts her on the losing end. She had a WWE Exclusive after the show backstage, and she actually seemed defeated. She didn’t have her normal gloating obviously and she for once didn’t use an excuse as to why something didn’t go her way.
It was actually nice to see that side of her, but compared to anyone else on the show, she came out looking the worst. Her team actually was probably the weakest in the end with SmackDown standing in the ring and NXT standing at the top of the ramp.
Overall, I have been happy with this build-up for Survivor Series. I am really looking forward to this weekend. My only gripe was they did the invading, fight for supremacy, or whatever you want to call it a little overboard. Every match didn’t need another brand coming out to attack.
Although I just said that, how I think the show should have ended tonight should have been a little different. Sure the women had a brawl earlier in the night, but with the very last moment prior to Survivor Series, we only had the men brawling in and around the ring. They could have easily had the women brawl in the back at the same time. Perhaps that would have been overdoing it as I just mentioned, so maybe not.
What did you think of this week’s SmackDown? Who were your Winners & Losers?
Check back in with Diva Dirt all weekend for live coverage of both NXT TakeOver: WarGames and Survivor Series.